IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief

AAA

DEFINITION of 'IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief'

A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that outlines the three types of tax liability relief for spouses or former spouses who filed joint income tax returns. Couples filing a joint tax return are both liable for the tax liability, referred to as joint and several liability. In the case of a separation, the IRS will continue to consider the tax liability status as joint and several, but in some cases will relieve one partner of any tax, interest and penalties related to the joint tax filing.


The three types of relief are innocent spouse relief, separation liability relief and equitable relief.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'IRS Publication 971: Innocent Spouse Relief'

Spouses must complete and file Form 8857 (Request for Innocent Spouse Relief) as soon as they become aware of a liability that they think only the other spouse or former spouse should be liable for. Spouses or former spouses have up to two years from the date the IRS first tried to collect the tax liability to seek relief. The IRS is then obligated to contact the spouse or former spouse to notify them that Form 8857 was filed.


Married spouses who file separate returns but live in community-property states may also seek relief.


IRS Publication 971 does not cover injured spouse relief.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Form 8857: Request For Innocent ...

    An IRS tax form used by taxpayers to request relief from a tax ...
  2. Equitable Relief

    A court-granted remedy that requires a party to act or refrain ...
  3. Innocent-Spouse Rule

    A measure of relief built into the tax code that allows a person, ...
  4. Filing Status

    A category that defines the type of tax return form an individual ...
  5. Married Filing Separately

    A filing status for married couples who choose to record their ...
  6. Married Filing Jointly

    A filing status for married couples that have wed before the ...
Related Articles
  1. 10 Steps To Tax Preparation
    Taxes

    10 Steps To Tax Preparation

  2. Happily Married? File Taxes Separately!
    Taxes

    Happily Married? File Taxes Separately!

  3. Taxing Times For Divorced Parents
    Taxes

    Taxing Times For Divorced Parents

  4. The Tax Benefits Of Having A Spouse
    Taxes

    The Tax Benefits Of Having A Spouse

Hot Definitions
  1. Hyperinflation

    Extremely rapid or out of control inflation. There is no precise numerical definition to hyperinflation. Hyperinflation is ...
  2. Gross Rate Of Return

    The total rate of return on an investment before the deduction of any fees or expenses. The gross rate of return is quoted ...
  3. Debit Spread

    Two options with different market prices that an investor trades on the same underlying security. The higher priced option ...
  4. Leading Indicator

    A measurable economic factor that changes before the economy starts to follow a particular pattern or trend. Leading indicators ...
  5. Wage-Price Spiral

    A macroeconomic theory to explain the cause-and-effect relationship between rising wages and rising prices, or inflation. ...
  6. Accelerated Depreciation

    Any method of depreciation used for accounting or income tax purposes that allows greater deductions in the earlier years ...
Trading Center